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Cape Cod The Big Freeze of 1875

From February 3, 1875, until March 6 of the same year, Cape Cod Bay was almost completely frozen over. One of the coldest winters on record, Cape Codders long remembered the humorous sidelights connected with this cold stretch. Some seventy-five fishing vessels were rounding the Cape at that time, and fifty of them were frozen solid in the ice-packed Bay for more than a month.

Cape Cod kids had the time of their lives walking around on the solid Bay. Cape Cod men were kept busy pushing dories over the ice to Provincetown for provisions and coal, and Cape Cod women were kept busy bringing coffee and food to the crews that strained to empty the ships of their perishables. There were a few daring souls who walked across the ice from Sandwich to Provincetown!

George Burbank of Sandwich was a famous antiquarian, and told this story in connection with the “big freeze” of 1875. It seems that some sailors, who had abandoned their trapped ship, came ashore, and to keep from freezing burrowed under some haystacks. The hard-bitten and probably frostbitten to boot, farmer who owned the haystacks sent a bill to Washington officials for the “rental” of the haystacks along with another bill of two cents for the breaking of a cedar rail on his property. According to Mr. Burbank, the two bills were framed and hung in the place of honor in the Executive chamber for a long time. As to whether the bill was paid or not ... no one seems to know.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 01/23/06
Categories: HistoryWeather
Keywords: winter, history, cape cod bay


i don’t blame them, 2 weeks ago the water was so cold @ churchill’s landing i thought it was frozen… luckily just for 1 day

Posted by dave from boston on 08/08/08 at 10:06 PM | #

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